A Passage to India

by E. M. Forster

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Part II, Chapters XVIII – XXI: Summary

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Last Updated on April 25, 2023, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 390

Mr. McBryde detains Aziz and informs him that he may be eligible for bail. When Fielding arrives, McBryde shares the charges with him. Fielding requests to see Miss Quested, but his request is turned down. Despite this, he proclaims his belief in Aziz's innocence. He is also denied access to Aziz. Aziz's table-drawer contents are revealed, and McBryde triumphantly points out photographs of a woman. Fielding clarifies that the photograph is of Aziz's wife.

Hamidullah waits outside the superintendent's office, discussing policy and evidence with Fielding. Focused on Aziz's innocence, he acknowledges the difference in his reactions compared to other Indians he supports. Hamidullah plans to hire Amritrao, a renowned Calcutta barrister, to represent Aziz, thinking a Hindu lawyer will broaden the defense's appeal.

Fielding has an unclear conversation with Godbole, who appears indifferent to Aziz's situation and talks about unrelated topics. Godbole shares his plans to establish a high school in Mau, Central India. Fielding asks for Godbole's personal opinion on Aziz's guilt or innocence, but the discussion becomes an abstract debate about good and evil.

Fielding obtains permission to visit Aziz, who accuses him of abandonment and is distant. Fielding writes a letter to Miss Quested with little expectation. The Anglo-Indian women start to feel a newfound fondness for Miss Quested, considering her one of them. At the Club, the collector rallies the Anglo-Indians, urging them not to mistrust all Indians due to one criminal charge.

Major Callendar arrives, feeling guilty for granting Aziz leave. He provokes Fielding through a subaltern and, while intoxicated, shares outlandish rumors about Aziz's crime planning.

Ronny Heaslop enters, and Fielding refuses to stand with the others. The collector questions his refusal, and Fielding, feeling attacked, stands and asserts his belief in Aziz's innocence. He resigns from the Club, prompting an angry response from Mr. Turton. As Fielding tries to leave, his path is blocked, but Heaslop intervenes, allowing him to exit. Alone, Fielding experiences self-doubt and introspection.

The atmosphere is charged with the upcoming Mohurram festival and the campaign to save Aziz. Fielding spends the night with Aziz's supporters, learning that Amritrao has agreed to represent Aziz. They plan to reapply for bail now that Miss Quested is out of danger. Fielding wishes to discuss his mistake in being impolite to Heaslop at the Club with Godbole, but the professor has vanished.

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Part II, Chapters XV – XVII: Summary


Part II, Chapters XXII – XXIII: Summary